Understanding the CAHSEE Test

What is CAHSEE?

The CAHSEE is taken by all high school students of California in order to obtain a diploma that demonstrates their skills in Reading, Writing and Mathematics. In fact, taking this test ensures that the students of California who are graduating from high school have the required level of competence in the subjects that are tested in this exam. The test is developed and devised by ETS that has been chosen by the California Department of Education.

The test is divided into the following sections:

  • English-Language Arts or ELA
  • Mathematics

Those candidates who are studying in the public schools of California must take this test in order to prove whether their skills pertain to the level of proficiency in the academic contents that are commensurate with the standard of the State Board of Education or SBE. Therefore, the basic objectives of taking this test are summed up in the following points:

  • Taking the test helps in improving the standards of the test takers intending to obtain high school diploma.
  • Proving their knowledge and expertise in Reading, Writing and Mathematics.

As far as the test sections of are concerned, the points to be noted are mentioned below:

  • The English-Language Arts or ELA section corresponds to that of grade ten. The students have to answer multiple-choice questions in this section along with a Writing task.
  • There is a Reading section that includes vocabulary, assaying of literary passages and information and reading comprehension.
  • In the Writing section, there is a writing task in which the test takers have to respond to an unseen literary passage or writing prompt or a passage containing information. Besides this, the Writing Section also covers strategies, customs and applications of writing.
  • In the Math section, the questions pertain to the academic standards in California in Algebra I. The students have to answer multiple-choice questions on data analysis and probability, number sense, reasoning in mathematics, statistics, measurement and geometry. Additionally, the test takers must have adequate expertise in basic mathematical calculations and knowledge of decimals, percentages and fractions.

In order to pass in the Math portion, the candidates have to answer 55 percent of the questions correctly or obtain a scale score of 350. Similarly, for passing the ELA part of this test, sixty percent of the questions must be answered correctly or a scale score of 350 must be obtained by the test takers.

The candidates who are studying in the public schools of California must pass the test although the eligible students with disabilities are exempted from complying with these requirements. Along with this, the test takers must also fulfill the local and state requirements for earning a high school diploma.

The ELA section is conducted in two different sessions. For the first session, the working time is approximately around 2 hours and the total test time is estimated to be around 2 hours 30 minutes. For the second session, the working time is around 1 hour and the total test time is 2 hours.

Similarly, for Mathematics, there are two different sessions in which the test is administered for the students. However, the working time for both the sessions include 1 hour 30 minutes and the total time of administration is 2 hours. In between the sessions, the test takers are also allowed to take a short and long break according to their requirements. In case of a long break, they are required to submit their documents for the first session before leaving the room; whereas for short break, the students are allowed to remain in the test room.

CAHSEE provides an opportunity to the students to prove their skills and abilities for obtaining a high school diploma and the exam authorities to assess the potential of those students who are able to exhibit grade-level competency for this purpose.

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